Bonum Certa Men Certa

Cablegate: In Vietnam, BSA+IDC+Microsoft Assure Microsoft Lock-in in Exchange for Indoctrination


Summary: An absurd exchange which on both sides of the coin works in Microsoft's favour

THE FOLLOWING Cablegate cable is similar to the previous one in the sense that we see the annual BSA/IDC lies (we debunked these many times before) being used by politicians to lobby for Microsoft's agenda. Even though counterfeiting is beneficial/essential to Microsoft's business, Microsoft is being portrayed as a victim and this 'victimhood' tactic is then being used to cause embarrassment/guilt and have a submissive deal signed -- a deal under which a lot of taxpayers' money gets passed to Ballmer and Gates, who in 'exchange' for this 'favour' will help indoctrinate the Vietnamese population. Some deal, eh? Then consider other stories from Vietnam, such as:

Notice the lies from the BSA (these are actually IDC+BSA lies, where the former uses IDG to spread the lies through the media). It says that "The 2007 Business Software Alliance (BSA) and IDC Global Software Piracy Study ranks Vietnam as having the world's fifth highest software piracy rate. At 88 percent, this is the highest rate in Asia."

Lists of shame are a shameful. It's the way sex offenders are being treated. Here is the cable in full:







1. (SBU) Summary: On May 21, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung witnessed the signing of a multi-faceted agreement committing all GVN agencies to use licensed software. For its part, Microsoft will increase its investment to develop Vietnam's information and communication technology (ICT) sector through training and capacity building programs. Embassy intervened with GVN officials to make sure the signing took place after Microsoft met with the Ambassador and expressed last-minute concerns that the GVN would hold the agreement as a deliverable for the potential visit of President Triet later this summer. The agreement is a significant demonstration of Vietnam's commitment to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) and stop rampant piracy. Implementation of this agreement will move Vietnam from having the world's fifth highest, and Asia's highest, software piracy rate to a better ranking in the region and the world. This may well constitute the most significant agreement Vietnam has ever signed with a U.S. business. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During his May 21 visit to Hanoi, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer joined Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung, the Ambassador and other GVN officials to witness the signing of a multi-faceted agreement between the company and the GVN requiring all government agencies to purchase and use licensed software. This follows through on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in Washington during Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem's March visit, which committed both sides to sign a comprehensive agreement on software licensing and collaborative ICT development efforts by the end of May. Microsoft's President for Southeast Asia Chris Atkinson estimated that Vietnam would purchase licensed software for approximately 300,000 desktops through this deal. In exchange, the agreement provides a foundation for Microsoft to assist Vietnam in developing its ICT sector through training, human resource development and other capacity building programs. (Note: Though the figures are not public, Atkinson said the 300,000 licenses will cost the GVN approximately USD 20 million, while Microsoft's investment to develop the local ICT industry would be around USD 3 million. End Note.)

Last-Minute Concerns by Microsoft ---------------------------------

3. (SBU) On May 18, Microsoft's Atkinson requested a last-minute meeting with the Ambassador to request his assistance in urging the GVN to follow through on its commitment in the March MOU to sign the formal agreement by the end of May. Microsoft was concerned that the GVN would try to delay signing some or all of the substance of the agreement to preserve it as a deliverable for the potential visit this summer by Vietnam's President Nguyen Minh Triet.

4. (SBU) Following the meeting, the Embassy contacted officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Government to underline United States Government support for signing the agreement now, so that our Presidents would be able to echo the signing's important message and broad positive reaction during President Triet's potential visit. For its part, Microsoft told the GVN it would "mobilize all available resources" to spotlight Vietnam's efforts to uphold its commitments to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), as well as the opportunities for increased cooperation between U.S. firms and Vietnam's ICT industry during the possible Triet visit. Late on May 18, the GVN confirmed to Microsoft that it would proceed with the signing now, with the hope that the two sides could hold a second, "ceremonial" signing in Washington in conjunction with the planned Triet visit.

PM Dzung and Microsoft's Ballmer Applaud This Step --------------------------------------------- -----

5. (SBU) At the 30 minute signing ceremony, Prime Minister Dzung stated that this agreement is evidence of Vietnam's commitment to Microsoft, to the World Trade Organization and to the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA). The Prime Minister said he highly appreciates the cooperation with the United States in the ICT field - both through USG assistance and cooperation and investment from large U.S. enterprises - referencing specifically the anticipated March 2008 launch of the Vinasat satellite built by Lockheed Martin. He continued by saying that Vietnam will consistently follow market practices, and will implement fully its international commitments, including those on IPR protection. He told Microsoft's Ballmer that he would personally ensure Vietnam fulfills its obligations under this agreement. IPR protection is important to develop Vietnam's "modest" USD 300 million software development industry and the ICT sector as a whole, which will be critical in extending Vietnam's

HANOI 00000945 002 OF 002

wave of development, the Prime Minister said.

6. (SBU) PM Dzung talked about Vietnam's so-called Six Pillars of Comprehensive Development (outlined in the World Bank/Asian Development Bank/UNDP 2001 Vietnam Development Report) required to ensure Vietnam's "sustainable development with social equity." He noted that Vietnam will need to emphasize particularly the fifth pillar, which he defined as education, training, science and technology. This agreement provides a foundation for cooperation in this pillar, Dzung said, expressing his hope that Microsoft would continue to support Vietnam through participation in efforts such as the Topic 64 Program and its ongoing work with Vietnam's leading IT firm, FPT Corporation.

7. (SBU) Ballmer responded by stating that this agreement demonstrates Vietnam's seriousness in protecting IPR and in creating an environment and a platform for Vietnam's ICT industry to grow. Echoing the Prime Minister's personal commitment, Ballmer agreed likewise personally to ensure that Microsoft upholds its promises to assist Vietnam's ICT sector.

Improving its BSA Software Piracy Ranking -----------------------------------------

8. (SBU) The 2007 Business Software Alliance (BSA) and IDC Global Software Piracy Study ranks Vietnam as having the world's fifth highest software piracy rate. At 88 percent, this is the highest rate in Asia. Significantly, Microsoft estimates that this agreement alone will improve Vietnam's piracy rate by at least 10 percentage points, which would put it ahead of many other countries in the region, including China, Indonesia and Thailand. Microsoft's Atkinson told the Ambassador that this would be "one of the single biggest percentage drops in the history of tracking software piracy rates."

Comment -------

9. (SBU) Of all the signings with U.S. businesses in recent years, this agreement is likely the most significant for Vietnam in the long term. Carrying through on its commitments will enable Vietnam to take a giant step forward in its international respectability with regard to protecting intellectual property rights. It sends a strong signal about Vietnam's commitment to IPR protection as it contemplates requesting consideration as a beneficiary under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Program and works to improve its status under the Special 301 review process. The agreement will also lead to a new level of development in Vietnam's ICT industry, setting the stage for it to become a potentially significant player in this rapidly expanding sector.


Why is this a matter of foreign affairs and international policy anyway? This is a private business.


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